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Get On Board, Son

It was Terence Mann in Field of Dreams who said, "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

This quote rang true for me this week, and it wasn't anything the Cubs did. It was something that my son Mitchell did - or, rather, didn't do. He didn't make the All-Star team in his baseball league. An 8-year-old looked reality in the face and said, "I don't think I'm going to get picked." And he was right, he didn't get picked. And he, um, well, didn't get "snubbed."

Mitchell is the kid going through the motions out there just happy to hang with the guys in the dugout and just show up and see what happens. When asked about playing catch and taking some swings he just was never interested on off-baseball days. But that All-Star team deal, well, that sparked a little something. And I'm happy to see it. Because baseball is really on the radar. And I was a little worried that it never would be.

Not that it bothered me that much; I mean I was resigned to the fact that my son was just not into sports much at all. He'd just find other stuff to be "into" and I would do whatever I could to support and help him out with whatever these other things were. Plus, it's a real easy fallback on the whole father/son deal to chat about sports and/or watch games together. I know that growing up myself I talked sports with my dad all the time, still do, and I talked sports with my grandpas too. It was just what you did - and so far it was eight years of talking everything else but sports with Mitchell.

I'm not saying that not being into sports is better or worse as a subject to bond with your kids over; I was actually looking forward to whatever it was that stuck with him as a hobby/pasttime/calling, whatever. And I still am looking forward to this great journey with this great kid. But now baseball is on the radar and that makes me feel good.

Not that it's going to be that easy. Mitchell's got some ground to make up to get on next season's All-Star team - which means I (and Mrs. Factor) have some ground to make up. In case you don't know, you can't just throw out a couple gloves and some baseballs and say "Go play!" to kids these days. And you can rally around how we spoil our kids too much and it was better in my day and all that crap, but it still doesn't change the fact that if you want your kid to practice much of anything you have to be doing it yourself, or pay someone else to do so with camps and clinics and all that jazz.

But it should be fun, and I'm looking forward to the process. And the constant that is baseball has a chance to continue to mark the time. Not to mention, the Cubs are flipping unreal right now, so get on board, son.


Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-2 for the week, winning two of three from both the Phillies and Braves. Not really news here. It would have been nice to win all six games for the week, but that just doesn't happen in baseball.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue stay on the road for three with the Nationals and then head home for a weekend series with the Pirates. The Nats series should be fun to see how many times Bryce Harper gets walked and what Dusty Baker does about it. My prediction: He'll do something "from his gut" and it'll be really stupid.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler pulled up lame this week and opened the door for Albert Almora, Jr. and someone else (see Current Annoying Cub below) to get into the mix. Almora got two starts in left, Player X got two starts, and Kris Bryant got one. Looks like the man out in the cold is Matt Szczur. Well, Matt will still get in there for defense sometimes, but isn't Almora good on D too? Anyway, it's still all over the place and should be for the rest of the season.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: I can't say it registered with me that Sammy Sosa was such a Trump guy. But why would anyone really remember that? Sammy was a me-first egomaniac and apparently wanted to surround himself with like-minded people. He's not really missed.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: The Cub Factor would like to welcome back Chris Coghlan. I guess the Cubs just couldn't do without that .146 BA and .215 OBP he was putting up with the A's this season. And what I mean by "welcome" is "For godsakes, why?" But I guess he fills a need as a second baseman and an outfielder as Tommy "3 a.m." La Stella is not doing too well either. But man, this guy bugged me all year last season. Isn't there some other horrible catcher they could have signed?

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe got to hang with Bill Murray on Saturday. And get this: Bill is very clever and a really nice man. But can't we get past the Dusty-Joe comparisons? Regardless if the Cubs win a World Series or not, the comparison is moot.

Kubs Kalender: Fans attending the Cubs-Pirates game on Friday get a "Save Ferris" t-shirt because I guess that movie is still a thing. But it's just the first 5,000 people in the bleachers. And Ferris didn't even sit in the bleachers. And for the record, the Cubs' promos are pretty lame, and if not lame, most of them are for just the bleachers.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that baseball is better with your son.


Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

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